Abstracts: Workshop on Italian Cooperatives (1997)

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THIS TEXT HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT BY                                
                                                                                         
                        THE INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE ALLIANCE
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Workshop on Italian Cooperatives

                    October 1997

Source : Abstracts presented to the ICA Committee on Research Annual Conference The Co-op
Advantage in Civil Economy, Bertinoro, Italy, October 1997


CO-OPERATIVE ENTERPRISES OF THE PROVINCE OF PISA

Riccardo Bemi, Investigation Co-ordinator, Italy

Target of the investigation :

Many public and private bodies develop qualified activities to answer to the needs of the
co-operative enterprises. Nevertheless, the great complexity of the actual social
economic context makes necessary the enlargement and the qualitative improvement of the
network of the services which are offered the co-operators. This is particularly
important, above all for the co-operative movement which embodies managerial criterions
especially entrepreneurial from one side and social purposes from the other one.

Working procedures and contents of the investigation:

The following kinds of investigation were made:

Quantitative: census of the co-operative enterprises of the Province of Pisa by means of
the collection and the following elaboration of the statistical information which are now
available to the sources of public nature (Chamber of Commerce, Prefecture and Work
Office); the fundamental structural characteristic of the co-operatives (location, limits
of operativity, developed activities, operative units, central co-operative of belonging,
juridical phase - effective or in conclusive phase).

Qualitative: investigation of relevant economic social aspects of some typologies of
co-operative enterprises (work, social and mixture co-operative) by means of
brainstorming together with the executives of the local Chambers of Commerce and of all
the bodies representative which are present in the territory and a personal interview
structured on a sample of 25 units; some subjects regarding the innovative and managerial
processes (co-operative nature of the entrepreneurial structures, establishment and

Results achieved :

Firstly, a general reading and a detailed analysis of the expressed and hidden needs of
the co-operative enterprises of the sample in an economic-entrepreneurial view. Secondly,
an "institutional" reading of the needs with a prefiguration of the possible innovative
services that can be achieved (in particular way, by the economic public bodies) and the
connected possible organisational structures.

General information :

The Chamber of Commerce of Pisa gave an order for the investigation to In.Te.S.A. -
Information Third Sector Acli (Company of investigation, training, information and
consulting of Acli, specialised in social economy). In.Te.S.A made use of its
investigators and of some collaborators of Consorzio Nazionale Solaris (Consortium of
social and work co-operatives). The final report of investigation, about 100 pages, will
be published next autumn.

EVOLUTION OF CO-OPERATIVE INTEGRATION PATTERNS. 
ANALYSIS OF ONE CASE: MULTISECTORAL CO-OPERATION 
SYSTEM IN FAENZA.

By Everardo Minardi (University of Bologna) and RicercAzione s.c.a.r.l. (Faenza)

The research on financial and excellent organizational conditions to be on market induced
co-operative enterprises, both in agricultural and manufacturer sector, to pursue
vertical integration forms with monosectoral specialization, to which collated
progressive weakening of enterprises relations, their own "social bases" and local
economies, as well as the significant reduction of social participation spaces.

Productive specialization and productive factors optimization due to following
aggregations have been explained as essential conditions for enterprises success. Only by
extending their  ability of staying on market the enterprises can justify their own
juridical and organizational difference.

As a matter of fact, the cases in which this strategy met with success are not many.
Otherwise, significant can result the analysis of some cases in which tendence to
vertical integration of co-operative enterprises has been realized strengthening and
differentiating forms and institutions of horizontal integration among the co-operative
enterprises themselves, enlarging credit co-operation function and all forms of
innovative co-operation, mostly represented by enterprises services co-operation and soci

It has been thus possible to give rise to a system of enterprises which has not lost his
own territorial and community reference, at the same time it has not enfeebled functions
and institution control of the "social base" on enterprises themselves.

With regard to what explained, we will present the case of co-operation envelopment in
Faenza, with particular reference to co-operative enterprises which operate in national
and international markets.


RECIPROCITY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ACTION OF TWO FARMERS' COOPERATIVES.

Giorgio Osti, Department of Human Science, University of Trieste

The rural development theme has raised attention after the crisis of classical theories
of social change (modernization and dependence theory) and after European Union has shown
great concern to rural spaces instead of agricultural firms. New approach to rural
development implies not only attention to economic growth problems but also to other
importants matters: the capability of local people themselves to promote and manage the
development, the protection of environment both as economic good and as sim

In the paper the concept of reciprocity is specified and then used to explain territorial
development. After that, the theoretical material is applied to two farmers cooperatives
working in the Po delta, one in the venetian bank and the other in the Emilia-Romagna
bank. Reciprocity comes out as foundation principle of cooperation and as a useful tool
to understand strategies of two farmers' cooperatives. The so called "territorial
strategy" (action towards local community) is not carried out; the two coo

THE CO-OPERATIVE FIRM AND MARKET COMPETITION:
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS.

Dr Domenico Faccioli Co-ordinator, "Course in Co-operative 
Economics" University of Bologna, Italy

The peculiar features of this kind of firm make it particularly 
suitable for markets which have deeply informative asymmetry. 
For this reason, the co-operative firm can represent an optimal
synthesis between efficiency and services quality. Beyond this 
innovative role, we have to underline that the co-operatives are 
an important piece of the traditional branch. In the future, the 
co-operatives will often confront for profit firms both in the 
new and the traditional markets. So, the debate around the 
efficiency of the institutional shapes of firms will be more 
important.

This work draws its inspiration from these comments and is a 
comparative research between the firms working in two industries,
building trade and retail trade, where the presence of co-operatives 
is traditionally wide. We have worked by data recollected in two 
samples, the first is compound by balance sheets of co-operatives 
affiliated to Legacoop, the other is compound by balance sheets
of for profit firms recollected in the biennial study realised by 
Mediobanca. These data are processed by techniques adapted to 
peculiar objectives of the co-operatives.

The purpose of this work is to describe the conditions of the
two competing groups of firms coming out from their most 
important account documents. Another aim of the work is 
to put in evidence the differences, if they exist, depending
on the specific institutional shape. This research can also be
considered as an attempt to verify the informative capacity
of the balance sheet.